Mobilization: rush on plane tickets to leave Russia

Mobilization: rush on plane tickets to leave Russia< /p> UPDATE DAY

MOSCOW | Vladimir Putin's announcement of a partial mobilization to reinforce his troops in Ukraine sparked a rush on airline websites on Wednesday in an attempt to get out of Russia as soon as possible. 

< p>The mobilization initially concerns 300,000 reservists, but according to the Ministry of Defense a total of 25 million Russians can be mobilized to join the ranks of the army in eastern and southern Ukraine.

According to the Google Trends statistical tool, which tracks how often a word was typed on Google, searches in Russia for the terms “tickets” and “plane” have more than doubled since 0600 GMT on Wednesday, either at the beginning of Vladimir Putin's recorded televised address.

The request to “leave Russia” was carried out 100 times more in the morning than in normal times.

The Belgorod region, bordering northeastern Ukraine and affected on several occasions since the end of February by Ukrainian strikes, is also at the top of the ranking indicating the place where these searches were made.

Tickets for direct flights to the destinations closest to Russia – Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan – are all sold out for Wednesday, according to the Aviasales site, very popular in Russia for buy tickets.

In the direction of Istanbul with Turkish Airlines, which since Western sanctions and the closure of European airspace has become one of the main exit routes from the country by plane, “all flights are full” until Saturday.

At AirSerbia, to reach Belgrade, the next flight with available seats was posted for Monday 26.

Mobilization: rush on plane tickets to leave Russia

Mobilization: rush on plane tickets to leave Russia< /p>

Domestic flights to cities close to the country's borders have also exploded, as evidenced by these tickets offered from Moscow to Vladikavkaz (south) for more than 750 dollars… compared to barely 70 dollars normally .

At the beginning of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, a first exodus of Russians opposed to the assault or fearing mobilization had taken place. No official estimate has been made public, but it involved at least tens of thousands of people.

An online petition on the site to denounce the mobilization gathered 160,000 signatures in a few hours.